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Everybody Wants It and God Promises It

Happy are those [whose]…delight is in the law of the LORD… -Psalm 1:1,2

              The Peanuts comic strip has been a part of our American consciousness for longer than most of us, who can remember when it started, care to admit.  Its popularity, in large part, rests on the fact that so many people can identify with the characters, especially Charlie Brown.
            The most noticeable trait of the CB we know and love is that he does not seem to be a happy person.  Nothing ever seems to go right for him—
                        he can’t get the girl he wants(the little red-haired one)
                        his baseball team always looses
                        Lucy always gets the best of him (pulls the football back as he runs
                            up to kick it).
One day Lucy tells him, “If you stay depressed for 2 more  days you will make the book of records.”  CB’s face lights up, his eyes brighten and he says, “Wow!”  and Lucy says, “You just blew it.”  He  can’t even succeed at depression!
            Happiness is an elusive commodity for CB and so it is for vast numbers of human beings.  There are the rather obvious examples of the majority in the world who are hungry, in poverty, the homeless, the numbers living under oppression, etc.  In fact most of the people in the world would agree with CB when he says he doesn’t want to be “outrageously happy”; he just doesn’t want to be unhappy.
            In our affluent society, the American Constitution affirms the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  If I were to ask you what you wanted out of  life, most would answer, “to be happy.”  But people are hollow, restless, discontented, dissatisfied, angry and bitter.  All indicators show most people are anything but happy. 
            Would it surprise you if I told you, “Happiness is God’s promise (plan) for you”?  That you not only have a right but “a sacred commission to be happy”?  That the desire for happiness you have is given to you by God?  All of that, according to the Bible, is true.
            But I warn you—some have read that and misunderstood.  Did you hear about “the new man in town who drove around one Sunday trying to decide which church to join?  Finally, he joined the church with the most Cadillacs on the parking lot.  His reason?  “These people have a religion that works.”
            Make good grades, win every game, get that promotion, live happily ever after is what they hear the Bible promising.  These people look at the whole thing as  training puppies or children by rewarding them for good behavior.  Howard Ruppel said,  “As a kid, I missed out on such treat.  I grew up during the  Depression, and I still remember Dad telling me, “Son, we can’t afford to reward you for good behavior.  You’ll have to learn to be good for nothing.”
            Happiness is your treat if you are good.  That’s just not true and anyway, it wouldn’t work—does not guarantee happiness.  The catch is how and where you seek your happiness—how you define it.   That’s where the Bible parts company with many.  You see we are often led to believe happiness means
            -to have everything run smoothly
            -have all you want
            -be everybody’s friend.
            If you are depending on good health, no problems, having things, being well-liked, popular, etc., you are doomed to disappointment—it probably won’t happen but even if it did it still would not make you happy.
            Neither is happiness some sort of uninterrupted euphoria, or feeling, sense of contentment.  It does not mean there are never times when you might not be depressed, discouraged, hurting—you don’t feel very happy.  In fact, the Psalms show severe tests to even the happy person.
            Real happiness is more like a compass—the needle may be   temporarily spinning but always comes back to rest at North, as a spring pulled out of shape always returns or  plastic toy, air-filled, weighted at bottom;  you can knock  it over  but it always returns to upright.
            What is or how can you be happy?
            Psalm 1 reflects the Biblical view:  Biblically happiness is not dependent on what happens, what  you have—but who you are, a certain kind of person is the happy person.  Happiness is to be what God intended.
            I will not tell you that you may not find a form of happiness apart from God—but it is a poor substitute for the real thing.  In addition it is becoming more and more unlikely.
            Real happiness is to “delight” in God’s law (will, desire, affection, motive) “your heart is in it.”  “Meditate” on it—consciously bring your life into line with God’s will for you and you will be happy.      The reason is very simple. THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE YOURSELF–WHAT GOD INTENDS YOU TO BE! 

“Acres of Diamonds” is one of the most famous sermons ever recorded.  It originated as a speech which Russell Conwell, founder and 1st president of Temple University, delivered over 6,000 times around the world.    The title comes from a story, told to Conwell by an Arab guide, about a man who wanted to find diamonds so badly that he sold his property and went off in futile search for them; the new owner of his home discovered that a rich diamond mine was located right there on the property.1

            DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF SEARCHING ALL OVER THE WORLD!  The basic element in happiness is surrender to God through Jesus Christ—to surrender to God is  to be happy.  Matthew 25:21-“Come and share your master’s happiness.”

1 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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